Anthony Bourdain is traveling to an unlikely destination, surfing across the airwaves to CNN. The Atlanta-based news channel confirmed on Tuesday that the globetrotting chef and pillar of the Travel Channel lineup will join CNN in 2013 to help beef up its weekend cultural offerings.
For more than a decade, Anthony Bourdain has been a trailblazer in educating Americans about different cuisines and cultures around the world, as well as an outspoken commentator on social trends ranging from the rise of celebrity chefs to the impact of fast food chains to the spread of vegetarianism and veganism, CNN Worldwide Executive Vice President and Managing Editor Mark Whitaker said Tuesday. Examining the world through the prism of Tony's unique expertise and passions continues CNN's long-standing commitment to international reporting and to promoting global understanding.
The new show will shoot on location across the globe and examine cultures through their food, dining, and travel rituals, according to CNN. The series is slated to air domestically on Sundays during prime time with repeat airings on Saturday nights. It will also air on CNN International.
Mr. Whitaker said the acquisition of Mr. Bourdain is part of CNN's attempt to broaden its weekend programing away from its traditional weekday news coverage. The network's ratings are at historic lows and CNN hopes to boost its numbers with more lifestyle content. To longtime viewers, however, it may seem like a blast from the past. CNN was once home to shows like Your Health, Style With Elsa Klensch, and People in the News, though most of these shows were produced in house.
Zero Point Zero Productions, the same team that shaped Mr. Bourdain's No Reservations, will produce the as-yet untitled CNN series.
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The chef tweeted the news Tuesday morning, sounding relieved that he could keep his crew: Moving with same ZPZ crew over to CNN to do another world travel show. Congo? Libya? Finally?
The award-winning Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations first aired in 2005 and quickly became a standout of the Travel Channel lineup. Mr. Bourdain began a new show, The Layover, for the channel last winter. The New York Times reports The Layover was renewed for one more season. No Reservations, however, was not and will wrap up its eighth season this week.
Mr. Bourdain's deal with CNN is exclusive and he will leave the Travel Channel after his obligations are complete, though the channel is free to replay old episodes.
Like most personalities at CNN, Mr. Bourdain is expected to provide commentary for the station's other programs and platforms.
I'm really looking forward to coming over to CNN, Mr. Bourdain said in a statement Tuesday. I think the world is going to get a whole lot bigger for me. I hope that old fans and new ones will be excited about what's coming down the road.
The cantankerous food critic and travel junkie is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books and has offered his snarky commentary on the Food Network's A Cook's Tour and Bravo's Top Chef, among others. He also oversees a line of books from Ecco, a division of HarperCollins, the first three of which are due out in 2013.